My story By Efi ❤

 

My modelling journey began with me dancing around Covent Garden with my friends. I was 14 years old and modelling was far from my young mind, which was busy being occupied with school and generally being a bit of an idiot. When I say ‘I was dancing’, I was quite literally dancing along with a street busker when a woman approached me from a top London modelling agency. For me, modelling was this big, exciting new world, and the woman was so ‘entranced’ by my ‘look’, (or so she said), that I immediately took her card and agreed to call the agency later that day. The woman was kind and approachable, and she clearly thought I had potential, so why not pursue it?

 

I’m not going to name any of the agencies I was signed with or was scouted by, because in writing this, I’m not trying to tarnish anyone or prevent girls from signing with certain agencies. Everyone’s experience is different. However, I just want young people to be cautious; don’t be an open and vulnerable book when entering an agency, like I was, because it is so easy to be manipulated on the promise of ‘world wide’ success. This particular agency kept in contact with me for a couple of years as I was too young to start immediate work at 14. However, with age, comes a maturing of the body: my boobs got fuller, my hips widened, and I no longer had the svelte, slender body of a child. This was a completely natural process, and yet I was made to feel as though my body was wrong and all of these changes were defects that I had personal responsibility for. It began simply with measuring my hips every couple of weeks; I can’t describe the dread I would feel at entering a room full of adults, at the age of 14, and being told my body was completely wrong. Then came the comments about eating the right food, drinking, and exercise, and basically losing all of my ‘puppy fat’. If I could lose a few inches on my hips, I would be in Paris next month. I was 14, and I was so desperate to be wanted by this big agency, that I completely threw myself into changing how I looked. I recently found a letter that I had written to my future self whilst at school, it read “have you lost that weight on your thighs yet?”. It physically pains me to imagine a 14 year old girl being so disgusted by her own body, and focusing so much on her self image, when my letter should have asked about my mental aspirations and my achievements.

 

I eventually realised that this was a poisonous path of self destruction and decided that my education was a priority for me over modelling. I lost contact with the agency and began life as a normal teenage girl again. This was until the age of 17. My long-standing depression got worse at the age of 17, and I lost a vast amount of weight due to anxiety. It was at this time that I was scouted yet again by an even bigger London agency. It was the same routine, a lovely woman approached me with promises of international acclaim and incredible modelling opportunities. I was immediately under her spell, and visited the agency with my parents a few days later. I met the directors of the agency who were ‘enamoured with my look’, and actually signed me on the spot- under the premise that I would lose a few inches off my hips.

 

At the time, they made it seem so simple: a few inches off and I would be an international model. I was put on a strict diet of vegetables, (without any dressing), fish, (no meat as it was too fatty), no carbs and lots of water. My depression had already caused me to reach a size 36/37inch hip, and so I only needed to lose a few more pounds. Except it was never that easy. I was assigned a very much unwanted nutritionist, who I refused, and put on an exercise regime of bikram yoga 4 times a week. Bikram yoga is 90 minutes of yoga performed in a boiling hot room, the excessive sweating causes you to lose a lot of weight. My first session, I actually blacked out from lack of food and nutrition, and yet I persevered. I was going over 4 times a week, which apparently wasn’t enough, as well as attending the gym. I would then go to the agency and parade around the whole team in my underwear, only to be judged and mocked. I distinctly remember one of the directors saying I reminded her of a young Constance Jablonski, but “much, much rounder”. I was a size 6/8 and 5’10.5. My BMI was underweight, and my obsession with food was so horrific that I counted how many calories were in a piece of chewing gum.

 

I was with that agency for about a year before I realised that I was destroying myself. I hadn’t practised any self-love since the age of 14, and my body was crippled with self-loathing and sadness. In the end, I chose me. The agency had stopped me from going to the gym as I was getting too muscular, and instead upped my yoga classes. My phone was filled with daily notes of my calorie intakes, every single item that touched my lips was accounted for. My goal was to eat less than 600 calories a day. I feel like I was abused and taken advantage of by these people, who were entirely aware of my mental health struggles. I was completely lost, and I was a ghost of my former self. My mum, who had been against modelling from the beginning, but hadn’t wanted to deny me my dreams, actually feared for my life. Seeing this destruction that I had created around me and within myself, I finally decided enough was enough. I left the agency.

 

That was probably one of the greatest achievements of my life. Choosing my life. My body is not simply an object to be manipulated, and pulled ,and judged. It is my home, and my home alone. I used to dread looking down and seeing no thigh gap between my legs, but now when they touch, I actually feel whole. I have never been overweight, and my thighs have touched naturally from the age of about 13, and I can finally embrace my natural shape. Nobody should be made to feel that they are not good enough for some societal expectation ordained by people who wouldn’t know self-worth if it smacked them in the face. I am furious, completely furious, that for 5 years of my life, I allowed someone else to dictate my decisions and choices. I’m not sure how much I weigh now, or how many calories I eat in a day, and god, does it feel good. I am perfectly me and I love every single roll and dimple on my body. It shows that I have lived, not merely existed.

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Lose The Label

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Why do we need to lose the label? It’s 2018, fashion and society is becoming more accepting of ‘plus-size’, racially diverse and non binary models, so we’ve reached our ultimate goal, right? Wrong. In the fashion world, we cannot claim to be all-inclusive when a label precedes a model. I do not expect to be sent to a casting as the ‘plus-size model Efi’, because my size does not define or limit my capabilities. Just as it is abhorrent that it continues to be shocking when a designer includes multiracial or transgender models in a campaign- this should not be shocking or revolutionary for the fashion world, this should be the norm.

 

Of course, we should always celebrate the embracement of diversity in the fashion industry as it marks a revolution in inclusiveness. However, it is 2018, and it is time that having a plus size model at the front of your campaign is not widely controversial. I often feel that through the inclusion of a select few multiracial or size diverse models, fashion houses feel that they have represented the ‘whole’ and therefore done their part in promoting diversity. However, a single campaign is not going to achieve this. The fact that clothes are still sold in ‘normal sizes’, and then also in ‘plus sizes’ may allow larger women to wear a clothing brand. However, it is also reinforcing the idea that larger women are different to ‘normal sizes’, and therefore have to shop in a different category; emphasising the exclusion of size diversity. Why can’t a dress option simply go up to a size 28+ without having to be labelled under ‘plus size’? 

 

Appearance and beauty should never be someone’s defining feature; however, the fashion industry is based predominantly on looks. Therefore, it has a major influence on society and the way we view ourselves. The fact that so many people are underrepresented in the industry, means that we are evolving to accept the idea that beauty is restricted to size zero models. When the truth is beauty can only be found in true diversity. How boring would a garden be if all of its flowers were the same? These labels are only causing more division, as people argue over whether someone is a true representation of that label. I have been accused of not being truly ‘plus size’, however, it angers me that society is not happy that I do not fit specifically into that label because I’m a size 10. When what should really be in question, is why that label exists in the first place. Those who believe they’re fighting for diversity by including these labels, are simply reinforcing exclusion; should I not be able to model because I don’t fit into the categories of ‘straight size’ or ‘plus size’?  A woman is a woman, she is not introduced as a ‘big woman’ or a ‘plus size woman’, and this should be reflected in the industry.

 

I have felt embarrassed in the past attending castings with smaller girls, and felt the need to state: ‘I’m a plus size model’ in order to reaffirm my status as a model. Upon applying for Britain’s Next Top Model, I also felt the need to label myself as ‘curve’ because I did not want to be judged by the designers or the public as a model that’s just too big. However, I should never have been made to feel this way, and neither should you. Labels only serve in restricting and limiting us, and it’s time that fashion houses realised that through not including more diversity, they are simply restricting themselves. I have attended so many castings where the clothes wouldn’t fit because my hips do not fit sample sizes, and I have always apologised in great embarrassment for this. But 2018 is the year that I will no longer apologise. If I attend a casting, and the dress doesn’t do up, I’ll simply ask if they have a larger size. And if they do not want to yield in size diversity, then they should be the ones who are ashamed.

 

We need to make this year our self-revolution, embracing both our unique bodies and our minds. Nobody can define or categorise my beauty and capabilities, and they definitely should not define yours.

 

Love and happiness,

 

Efi

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'Say Hello' To Tammy Mohr

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How do you know what to say when there is so much you have to say?

When I was asked to write that first article of the Curves Management blog series, I was on board instantly. You must know I’m always excited about all types of opportunities to express myself. However, I soon saw myself confronted with my usual dilemma. It’s just that there are so many matters I want to shout out and confront people with. For that reason I sometimes lose sight of where to start and what’s right, in what place. On top of that, this article is supposed to give you guys a sense of who I am. So I’ve been thinking and thinking and typing and deleting. And I came to realisation that with 2017 that just came to an end, a little bit of a reflection on what this year has been for me (in terms of modeling) might do the job - for now.

To begin with, here’s something I assume to be quite useful to know:

It's Tammy Mohr talking to you, a curve model, originally from Germany. Besides the modeling, I’m currently working on finishing my bachelor's degree anytime soon. My studies have been (and are) all about feminism, gender diversity as well as media science. For the past years, I dedicated all of who I am towards these topics. My art, my projects, my travels, my activism, my academic work. I wrote papers about how women are represented in the media and its resulting effects on us. Hence at some point, I felt like knowing all about it, in theory, was not enough no more. I wanted to take a walk on the practical side to get that glimpse behind the scenes. And not just that, I recognized its immense importance and felt a strong urge to get active. This is why - to cut a long story short - I signed my first modeling contract at the end of 2016.

So here I go. The headstrong person that I am, jumping right into fashion, carrying my idealistic beliefs up high, thinking I could work it in that manner. It didn’t take long for me to realise that I had no clue about the world I got myself into.

How does this work here? How do I position myself? What the fuck am I even doing?

Let’s just put it that way: I felt completely lost.

Until I met a certain someone. By that time he was right in the middle of the biggest breakthrough in his modeling career. He gave me something to hold onto in a world I didn’t understand at all. I gave him the pureness and authenticity he was desperately longing for. And we called it love. And it was real.

With this relationship, I gained more insights into the industry within my first year than I ever thought to be possible. I very quickly learned about both sides, the good and the bad. I started to question what opened up to me, the general concerns and doubts towards the biz evolved, followed and repeatedly underlined by my personal struggles.

“Tammy, you’re neither one thing nor the other”,

“You’re too slim”, “You’re too thick”, “You’re not thick enough”,

“By no means are you a real plus size model”, “The thing is, you just don’t fit in”.

Welcome to the age of Body Diversity, where the industry is finally oh-so-inclusive.

This leads to another point in my little article.

2017 - We scream Body Diversity but exclude the ‘in between bodies’.

I found that there are two extremes I’d be allowed to embody. I could either be the slim model or the curvy bombshell. But nobody glorifies the regular middle. Being in between means being out. Say what? Did you all miss what this movement is about?

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So while I’m signed as a model and told over and over how big my potential is, I miss out on lots of opportunities. I was told from day one on that if I really wanna make it and launch a big career, I, therefore, must become bigger.

I started to feel like I’m desperately fighting a battle against an industry, or rather a whole system, that is determinate to not recognize me. By that time, it seemed like I would need to change everything about myself in order to ‘make it’. That was never what I wanted.

I refuse to change my body, it’s my body that will change things.

And even more than changing my body, I refuse to calm my voice and tame my personality.

You know, for high fashion models, self-expression is the tool to stand out from the other girls. In plus, they tell us to tone it down. Well, no! It took me about two decades to grow into who I am today and fall in love with that person. I am not gonna let the industry take that away from me.

I reached the point where I had enough. I must admit that recent events in my personal life played a big part in it, too. At the end of the day, I just felt too small and trivial to have an impact anyway. Everything was draining and looked senseless.

As the turn of the year approached, it was crucial for me to reflect and become aware of what I want to hold onto or release from my life. And as you probably imagine already: I figured I cannot tick the whole cause off just like that. It's certainly not gonna be a fast and easy ride - but I have my drive back.

I am passionate about a more diverse representation. A representation of strong female personalities. Multifaceted women. Of all colors, ages and body shapes. That is what we need!

I do believe in it. I believe in us and I believe in myself. I believe today’s models are the ones to challenge long-established norms. They are the ones to shape a new icon of what is beautiful in an industry that defines beauty. All we’re asking for is the room and the trust of the people working with us to do so. There’s no lack of interesting, exceptional role models in fashion. But the industry doesn’t give us the platform we deserve. The industry keeps playing the safe card. What we need though is a more diverse set of cards that is being played by further, various participants. So now that 2018 has begun, it’s on us to finally, really, fully change the game.

Who’s with me?

xx Tammy

 

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2018: The year of diversity

Hello and welcome to The Curves Management blog!

As an agency, our aim is to bring diversity to the fashion industry and to show the world that EVERY 'BODY' IS BEAUTIFUL.

There is no such thing as the 'perfect' body, instead we believe in the beauty of diversity. 

Our beautiful models therefore, come in all shapes and sizes. We want people to be able to look at our models and feel represented. We want them to think 'my body looks like that, I am beautiful.' You can expect to read A LOT about positive body image here, as we aim to empower both men and women. 

Any model of any size is welcome at Curves Management, it would be counter productive to turn people away because of their size. A model who is a size 6, 10, 14 or 24 etc, is still a model and statistics do not change this. All sizes have a home on our main board. 

We are kicking 2018 off with a bang, starting with our official launch on January 1st, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Kicking off the blog is Efi Speaks, our beautiful influencer Efi Clements will be writing an open and honest article on the 15th of every month with the overall aim of raising awareness, promoting diversity and helping individuals going through similar experiences.

Remember to use the hashtag #efispeaks to share your own experiences or to make requests on topics you would like Efi to discuss.

 Our blog is also home to, model diaries, BTS, weekly updates and more.  

We are extremely excited for the future and believe 2018 is the year of diversity in the fashion industry! Please Keep your eyes peeled. 

 Interested in becoming a model?  You can hashtag #curvemcr and #curveldn for the chance to be scouted. 

Jody x

Founder and Managing Director of Curves Management Ltd

EFI SPEAKS

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Hey, it’s Efi.

I’m a curve model and body positive activist, and welcome to my new blog! 

I am so excited to be working with Curves Management on a project all about mental health and body positivity, something that is so close to my heart. I’m hoping this blog will be an open and honest page where I can offer support and a couple of words of wisdom from my experiences in the fashion industry, both as a ‘straight size’ model and a ‘curve model’. You may recognise me from the most recent series of Britain’s Next Top Model, where I struggled a lot with my self image and my confidence. Unfortunately, I had to leave the show due to my struggles with depression, and I feel that mental health is something that needs to be spoken about so much more. We are in the age of self-revolution; women are learning to love and embrace their bodies, cellulite, dimples and more. I believe that this self love also needs to spread towards our inner selves, and the so-called ‘imperfections’ that we may also find there. As women, we are learning that both our bodies and our minds are so strong and powerful, and as part of that self revolution we are rejecting societal expectations of the female image.

Curves Management is all about embracing that girl power, and the desperate need for diversity in the fashion industry. I want this blog to be part of that movement in ending both the prejudice towards size diversity, and the stigma surrounding mental health. My hope is that one day labels will no longer exist, and a ‘plus size’ model will simply be a model. I’ll be checking in every month with a new blogpost. So if there’s anything you would like me to address, whether its fashion related or mental health based, let me know by hashtagging #efispeaks on social media.

                                                   Big love,

                                                       Efi

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